What is good? Jesus once asked a man, “Why do you call me good?” That was a pertinent question because why do we call anyone “good?” Maybe it’s like great art, not so easy to define but very easy to see and recognize. One of my greatest hopes is that when I am gone, people will say of me, “He was a good man.” Lately, with my grief and health issues, I haven’t been doing much that is good. My father was good. I, along with many others, say that of my father without fear of repudiation because his goodness was sometime very visible but many times done in secret—just as Christ told us to give in secret. I found out many years after the fact that my father had been paying tuition for several of the children of Hispanics who worked on the loading docks of his Sear’s stores. He had done the same for African-American warehouse workers in other cities in Texas and Louisiana. Before he died, my father set up an endowed scholarship at Hendrix College in Arkansas and put it in the name of a retired Methodist pastor that he liked. Caring for others is good. Feeding orphans and hungry children is good. Educating those who couldn’t get an education otherwise—that’s good, too. Starting schools and giving hundreds of poor, small African children a head start with porridge every day and Montessori teaching techniques—that’s good. Providing clean, safe drinking water to thousands who had been dying of cholera and dysentery is also good. Keeping your temper and listening before you speak is good and helps communication immeasurably. Making morality and ethics important is good if that morality and those ethics help others.
Doing nothing or saying nothing when something desperately needs doing or saying is not good. There are lots of flat squirrels who couldn’t decide what to do. Being the kind of person that others admire and who inspires good deeds and love for others, that’s good as well. It’s easy to see good and know it. It’s harder to do it and to know what to do. Christ will help. Christ will guide. Christ’s words will tell you all you need to know about being good. You do have to read them, though. And it doesn’t hurt to study them with friends, either. Christ not only said what to do, He demonstrated it with His life and His sacrifice. Surely, we can figure out what’s good so that we can be identified as His followers by our love for others. We can see it all around us. People post short videos of it on Facebook and YouTube. We all know it when we see it, and others will look at you to see if you are good and doing good and guiding others to be good. Can’t have a higher calling than that. Wesley may not have actually said what’s in the quote above, but it is so like him, and so many people believe he said it that it doesn’t matter. He wouldn’t care about getting the credit—he would care about whether or not you were doing it. I pray every day for the strength and courage to do what is good even though sometimes that seems impossible. I pray that when my life is over, people will know that I tried my utmost to be a good man. Whatever you set as your goal, you are more likely to achieve it than if you set no goals and are simply washed along. Stand firm for goodness. The world needs it. You need it. Your loved ones need it. As Nike says, “Just do it” with “it” being good.